Depression - A Guide to Recognition and Treatment
What Is Depression?
Depression is an illness which involves a
person’s mood, thinking, body functions,
and actions. Changes in these areas can last
for weeks or months. People become upset
because depression can affect their ability to
Signs and Symptoms of Depression
To help you be aware of depression, the
signs and symptoms are discussed below.
ξ Feelings of being sad, blue, “down in
the dumps,” worried or depressed.
ξ Loss of being able to feel pleasure.
ξ Decreased interest in activities with
family, work, recreation and sex.
ξ Negative thoughts of the past,
present, and future.
ξ Low self-esteem
ξ Feelings of being helpless
ξ Frequent thoughts of suicide.
ξ Decreased ability to focus,
remember, and make decisions.
ξ Anxiety and/or exaggerated
ξ In severe depression, delusions (false
beliefs) and/or hallucinations (unreal
sights, sounds or other feelings) may
ξ Appetite changes. Weight loss may
result from eating less, but depressed
people may eat more and gain weight.
ξ Change in sleep (too much sleep or
too little sleep)
ξ Chronic fatigue and decreased energy
ξ Nausea, constipation, or diarrhea
ξ Increased reports of aches and pains
ξ Some people do not show any changes
in their behavior.
ξ Others may show some of these:
o Slowed movements or restless
movements, such as pacing or
o Not being able to work or
perform daily acts such as
dressing, eating, or washing
ξ Depressed people are at risk for
Treatment of Depression
Depression responds well to treatment.
Treatment depends on the type of depression,
its causes, and how severe it is. Treatment
may include talking to a trained expert and/or
medicines, and/or ECT (electroconvulsive
therapy). It may take many weeks for
symptoms to start to go away. The sooner a
diagnosis is made, the sooner treatment can
begin and the depressed person can feel relief
from the symptoms.
For more information about the treatment of
Depression Treatment at UW Health,
National Suicide Prevention line
National Alliance on Mental Illness, Dane Co.
NAMI Dane County
2059 Atwood Avenue
Your health care team may have given you this information as part of your care. If so, please use it and call if you
have any questions. If this information was not given to you as part of your care, please check with your doctor. This
is not medical advice. This is not to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Because each
person’s health needs are different, you should talk with your doctor or others on your health care team when using
this information. If you have an emergency, please call 911. Copyright © 10/2016 University of Wisconsin Hospitals
and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#4525. Summarized with
permission from "Depression and Its Treatment" by Dr. John H. Greist and Dr. James W. Jefferson.